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French tourism increasingly important to the Costa Blanca

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Although the Costa Blanca is often seen as particularly attractive to British tourists, in many places it is now the French who are more dominant.

Coastal locations included, the Valencian Community closed the third quarter of 2022 as the fourth Spanish region that attracted the most international tourists after the Balearic Islands, Catalonia and Andalusia, with a total of 3.1 million travellers.

In general terms, almost half of the arrivals from abroad originated in France or the United Kingdom, but the weight of each country varies significantly depending on the municipality of destination and confirms that the preferred areas for holidays also depend on nationality.

While in much of the provinces of Valencia and Castellón the French tourist is the majority, the British traveller tends to dominate in the towns of Alicante, and the Dutch becoming more common in a handful of inland towns.

This follows from the tourism measurement statistics based on the positioning of mobile phones prepared by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), whose latest update, published this week, reveals the places of origin of international visitors until September thanks to the data provided by the three main mobile operators in Spain. This shows how in towns such as Teulada, on the coast of Alicante, in the third quarter of the year more than 42% of foreign travellers arrived from the United Kingdom, a reality that is also reflected, to a greater or lesser extent, in at least other 71 municipalities of that province.

The INE figures therefore corroborate the great importance of the British visitor for the Alicante tourism sector, since the position of the United Kingdom as the main issuing country is generalised except in a few cases, such as Sant Vicent del Raspeig or those of some coastal towns close to the province of Valencia, such as Dénia or El Verger. It is from then on, further north, when the arrivals of travellers from France become more relevant, which provides most of the foreign visits to 122 Valencian municipalities and 50 from Castellón. The Gallic country thus acts as the leading international tourist force in more locations than the United Kingdom, although in absolute terms the British visitors who holidayed in the Community between July and September exceeded the French by just over 30,000 people.

Among the Valencian towns that have France as a very important part of their summer tourism, Sagunto, Xàtiva or Cullera stand out, a town where these travellers represent 42% of the total. In addition, the closer one is to the northern limit of the Valencian Community and, therefore, the shorter the distance with France, the more often its weight is very high. In fact, in Peñíscola more than half of the tourists who arrived in the third quarter of the year did so from France, making it one of the municipalities most dependent on French visitors. However, in one of the most representative destinations of this province during the summer, such as Benicàssim, it is more common to find British travellers.

Something similar occurs in the city of Valencia, where due to its position as an international destination beyond sun and beach, there is no country that is, by itself, its main source of tourists. Thus, both the United Kingdom and Italy represented 14.2% of the total between July and September, separated by only 67 people, while arrivals from the Netherlands added 13.2% and those from France 11.5 %. In addition, in that same period, 16,200 people from the United States disembarked, more than arrivals from Belgium, Switzerland or Ireland. On the other hand, in the other three large cities of the Valencian Community, a greater dependence on a single origin can be seen, which in the case of Elche and Alicante is the United Kingdom and in Castellón, France.

On the other hand, in about fifteen municipalities, all of them inland, the Netherlands is the country that contributes the largest number of tourists. The most relevant of them is perhaps Ontinyent, where more than 1,300 people from this nation were counted between July and September, while in towns such as Enguera, Ayora or Venta del Moro several hundred people were registered. In the same way, countries such as Belgium, Ireland, Italy and Germany are also the first issuer of travellers in at least one locality of the Valencian Community.

Precisely these last two starting points, despite not appearing as the main places of origin of tourists for almost any locality, are in general terms very relevant as a whole for Valencian autonomy. Both Italy and Germany provided somewhat less than 180,000 tourists to the Community in the third quarter of 2022, although their distribution is not identical. People from the German country, who by weight are relevant in a greater number of municipalities, are a prominent part of foreign tourism in Dénia, Oliva and Vinaròs, as well as in many sparsely populated inland towns and other larger ones such as Utiel. For its part, the Italian tourist is present above all in València and in municipalities to the north of this city and to the south of Castellón, such as Puçol, Almenara or Sagunto.

Beyond the main issuing countries, the INE also provides information on the international destinations preferred by the inhabitants of the Valencian Community, although for now the figures only reach up to the month of August. In this case, France is the most recurrent option for the vast majority of localities, since in 94% of the municipalities with data it appears as the most common summer resort in July and August of this year. Behind, in 2% of the localities, a greater number of residents opted for Portugal, while the United Kingdom was the first foreign summer destination in 1.2% of the populations.

For its part, Portugal is precisely the destination that appears as the second preferred option in a greater number of municipalities (77), ahead of Italy, which was the second most chosen country for summer vacations in 61 locations. In addition, in those populations for which the INE also offers a third preferred option, the most recurrent is also Italy, although in this case destinations that are not so close to the Valencian Community, such as Romania or Hungary, begin to appear.

You can see a full list of municipalities and the locations their residents prefer by clicking this link.

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